The Passion Principle

Many times, I've heard readers and booksellers saying they seek out debut authors regularly. Though I often find debut offerings a little on the rough side when it comes to craft, there's no denying the power of a passion so deeply felt, it moves the author to bruisingly, repeatedly slam him/herself headfirst against the Walls of Publishing to break through.

I recently finished reading a first book, Kerry Max Cook's amazing Chasing Justice: The Story of Freeing Myself After Two Decades on Death Row for a Crime I Didn't Commit. It's heartbreaking, infuriating, and inspiring by turns as it discusses a horrendous case of railroading in Texas, along with the sisyphean labor of climbing up from the abyss.

At first, I had a little trouble with the writing, particularly the dialogue, but Cook's very personal relationship with his story, the fire of his belief in it shines through so clearly, I soon found myself sucked in (and highly recommend the book). It served as a reminder that all the practiced wordsmithing in the world can't begin to trump a true passion for one's subject matter.

Which brings me to my resolution for the coming year. I mean to believe in every story so strongly that I hold back nothing whatsoever. I want to throw myself headlong into the characters and plot and setting, live my invented world until I dream it, and never give a second thought to embarrassing myself

Before, I've shared my "Write Fearlessly" mantra. This year, I want to be certain to add a healthy dash of passion to the mix, to recall the thrill I felt ten years ago, just before the publication of my first novel and to rekindle that enthusiasm in the writing act itself.

Because I never want to be one of those authors in whom readers lose faith, one of the ones where they say, "Oh, she used to be so good, but lately..." I never want to let fear shackle my imagination, or overly-rational attempts to cash in on some trend.

So what about you? What are your writing resolutions for 2009? And do you have any tricks to share for keeping passion in your process?


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